UCSF: Challenges and opportunities

My visit to the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco.

I had a brief, but enlightening visit last week with Dan Henroid and his foodservice staff at the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Dan gathered about 20 of his chefs and managers for an hour-long chat about the challenges and opportunities facing this 560-bed medical center near Golden Gate Park.

UCSF Medical Center is in the early stages of a nearly $8-million renovation of its foodservice facilities. When it is completed, the redo will include a new convenience store, a modern cafeteria servery with plenty of cook-to-order stations, and a kitchen with a pod system for tray assembly and a room-service component for the children’s unit that occupies two floors of the building.

It will be the first renovation of the facility in more than two decades, and foodservice employees are understandably excited about the possibilities the facelift will provide. The first phase of construction will be a convenience staff, called Moffitt Express, which is scheduled for a soft opening right before Thanksgiving. Then will come a nearly year-long renovation of the cafeteria, which will necessitate closing much of the facility for several months and selling all food for take-out. Finally, the kitchen will be upgraded.

What is less than thrilling is the fact that the renovation will come without an increase in staff. UCSF Medical Center is part of the University of California system, which is currently in a system-wide hiring freeze. Henroid explained that it is a major challenge to convince administration to allow him to fill a necessary position when that post becomes vacant.

Even one of the most commendable aspects of the cafeteria service—the use of 100% recyclable/compostable service ware—is motivated as much by economics as environmental awareness. Henroid said that is requires fewer employees to operate this way than it would be to use 100% permanentware.

Still, Henroid is proud of what is being accomplished, a plan that he “adopted” as an infant, when he arrived here three years ago, and has brought nearly to maturity. And he has confidence that his staff will be able—eager, in fact—to do more with the same number of bodies, or fewer. I was impressed, during my brief visit, with the enthusiasm of the staff as they undertake this challenging assignment. This is undoubtedly due in part to the fact that many of them were on staff the last time the cafeteria was renovated. For them, at least, this will be like a long-awaited Christmas present.

A full report of what awaits patients, employees and visitors at UCSF Medical Center will appear in an upcoming issue of FoodService Director. It would be interesting to return in early 2011 to see the finished product.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources